JOHOR BARU: Some major electrical and electronics (E&E) companies in the country are losing millions as they are unable to operate at full capacity due to conflicting conditions imposed by various local councils.
The International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti) had instructed the factories to get approval from the respective local councils in order to continue operations round the clock.
While some local councils have allowed the factories, which were previously running round the clock, to continue their operations while their applications were being processed, some councils are requiring factories to only start operations once their applications have been approved.
In Johor, at least half of such factories are still unable to operate continuously pending local council approval.
American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (Amcham) – Malaysian American Electronics Industry (MAEI) committee chairman Datuk Seri Wong Siew Hai said they were aware of the problem faced by E&E companies in Johor.
He added that many E&E companies nationwide operated continuously either in two or three shifts.
“In some places such as Penang, Kedah, Selangor and others, the councils are allowing these factories to continue running non-stop beginning last Friday while waiting for approval, ” he said.
He added that many E&E factories were already operating non-stop before the movement control order (MCO), and even during the first two phases of the MCO.
“It could also be due to the fact that in Penang, all the E&E factories fall under the jurisdiction of only two local councils, while in Johor, there are 16 local councils, ” he said, adding that most E&E factories in Johor, some of them large multinationals, were located in Johor Baru, Muar, Tangkak, Pasir Gudang, Skudai, Iskandar Puteri and Senai.
He hoped that local council presidents and mayors, with the support of Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad, would allow for uninterrupted operations to restart while awaiting local council approval.
“So far, the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) has been helpful to step in to mitigate the problem, ” he said, adding that they had 10 E&E members in Johor, with five operating and the rest still awaiting local council approval.
Meanwhile, a manager at a local E&E factory said they had been running at half capacity since March 18, when the MCO began.
“We also have production orders for the medical industry, which is now involved in battling Covid-19.
“We were running 24 hours in the past, but now we are still having problems with (some) local councils in Johor, ” he said, adding that his factory was presently operating at 50% capacity for 12 hours.
“I hope Johor council mayors and presidents can support us as we also provide many jobs for locals.”
The manager added that the standard operating procedure involving the production of sensitive components and medical products were already bound by strict hygiene and cleanliness policies, even without Covid-19.